“POLITICALLY incorrect” doesn’t even begin to describe Viz comic, which I’ve been a regular reader of since about 1987. It is offensive, smutty, inappropriate, and all done in the worst possible taste. It’s also brilliantly funny.
So I was looking forward to the last episode of BBC4’s Comics Britannia recently, to see how the talking heads on the programme would deal with Viz, and some of its charcaters, particularly the Fat Slags. Believe it or not, this is how comedian Stuart Lee described them:
It doesn’t really denigrate these women for being fat alcoholic nymphomaniacs, right? It says: “This is a choice they’ve made, and look at the fun they’re having, and wouldn’t you want to be in their Hogarthian lifestyle?” It looks superb…
Another commentator, a university lecturer called Mel Gibson, inevitably used the E-word (empowerment) to describe Sharon and Tracey’s characters.
“Hogarthian lifestyle”? Come. Off. It.
Why can’t these people just accept a cartoon strip for what it is: an exercise in making fun of the stereotypical characters involved, not to make a political point, not as part of some post-feminist manifesto or other, but for laughs. That’s it. Nothing more. The Fat Slags is about slagging off people because it’s funny. And the writers do it extremely well.
Next we’ll be told that Roger’s Profanisaurus is a post-ironic exercise in the democratic evolution of the English language instead of an exercise in encouraging people to think up really funny rude phrases and invent their definitions.